When Google introduced Estimated Total Conversions in AdWords last September, the company made clear it was working on ways to measure the impact of online advertising on in-store sales as it outlined the initiative to give advertisers a complete view of the effect their search advertising has on purchases.
At the time of the announcement, the company rolled out Estimated Cross-Device Conversions as the first new conversion type and said phone call and in-store conversions would be coming soon.
The company has since integrated call conversions, most recently giving advertisers the ability to apply bid strategies based on call duration. That leaves in-store conversions as the outstanding piece of the Estimated Total Conversions equation. The company is reportedly to solve this in at least a couple of ways.
In November, it was reported that Google was experimenting with using smartphone location data to track offline store visits and tie them back to ad exposures on mobile devices. Now, The Wall Street Journal reports Google is partnering with data provider giants like Datalogix and Acxiom to measure the offline sales impact of Google AdWords ads by matching anonymous cookies on users’ computers to the in-store sales info gathered by the data providers. According to WSJ the test involves a handful of advertisers, including Michael’s craft stores.
“We’re running a number of tests to help clients use their own sales data to measure how their search campaigns impact sales,” a Google spokesperson told us and WSJ,
Google isn’t the only one teaming up with the big data providers to solve the problem of showing advertisers how their online ad investments lead to in-store purchases. Both Facebook and Twitter have already been doing this.
Last year, Twitter unveiled how its “offline sales impact” tool, developed with Datalogix, has been measuring the offline sales impact of promoted and organic tweets for consumer packaged goods and automotive advertisers.
Facebook first began partnering with Datalogix to map advertising exposures to offline sales back in 2012.
Google, however, dominates the online advertising industry. If the company can give advertisers offline conversion data that they trust, it stands to reap huge rewards. While Google has been introducing new ad formats and features such as image extensions to appeal brand advertisers, the company knows that brands will really to take notice is if they can show that a search ad clicks or display ad impressions lead to in-store purchases.
It’s not known if in-store tracking is ready for prime time, however, the company is set to announce several new features in AdWords to help advertisers “use context to reach customers in even more effective ways” in a livestream on April 22. Building on the foundation of Enhanced Campaigns the features are said to “increase awareness and engagement everywhere your customers are online – from the web, to the mobile web, to mobile apps”. You can register for the livestream here.